There’s No Such Thing as a Perfect Action Plan! (Thank Goodness.)

All too many of us fall prey to perfectionism.  Do any of the following symptoms ring a bell for you?

Ouch.

You pay a very high price for perfectionism. Emotionally, you lock yourself into feeling that you’re never quite good enough, since nothing ever does – or can – turn out perfectly.  You tend to focus on what’s missing rather than what’s already been accomplished, which tends to sap your energy just when you need it most.  It makes it almost impossible to celebrate your achievements or accept other people’s congratulations on them.

And that says nothing about the practical costs of perfectionism.  It’s practically a cliche of our times: How someone took action on an idea – and reaped the financial rewards – while others were trying to perfect the same idea before taking it to market.   Can you even begin to estimate the cost in lost business of saying “no” to a new and uncomfortable opportunity to brand yourself as a subject matter expert?

As a recovering perfectionist myself, I know what I’m talking about.  Fortunately, I have numerous people in my work and personal life that refuse to let me get away with playing small under the guise of “making it perfect.”  One good friend and colleague, Pat Schuler of Kick Butt Sales Training, has a particular pithy way of goosing me along: “80% and go.” In other words, create a product or service that’s 80% as fabulous as it can be, then throw it out into the world.  This reminds me of another quote (and I need help on figuring out who to attribute this to).  It goes something like this: “A good plan executed well is better than a perfect plan that’s never acted on.”

How do you nudge yourself out of Perfection Paralysis?  How do you convince yourself to be gutsy enough to do a good job, rather than thinking you can do a perfect one?  Be a pal and share – maybe you can cut back on the learning curve for the rest of us.

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